GEM Community of Practice:
Using Data and Maps for Equitable Climate Action

Purpose: The Community of Practice supports practitioners using the GEM platform who are focused on refining the use of data and maps to advance climate equity. The Community provides structure and resources to help users learn from each other and build the skills and strategies necessary for productive relationships between frontline communities and city government working towards racially just climate action. 


Outcomes: Members of the Community will continually build, test, and troubleshoot their skills with each other. Members will lean into the many opportunities to lead elements of the Community of Practice, building mutual relationships that help deepen equity practice. They will be supported in leveraging their expertise towards more powerful and broader collective action. 


Process & Activities: The activities will focus on peer learning and leadership, documenting best practices and lessons learned, experimentation, and deepening equity practice. All members will participate in lateral skill and information sharing, as well as peer-to-peer communication. Through a peer leadership and consultancy model of workshopping and coaching, members of the community of practice will engage regularly with each other and other field facilitators to develop their skills. Members will be invited to step into leadership roles and contribute to the design of learning activities through their participation and expertise. 


Members: Community of Practice members are community-based practitioners and city staff who are working on equity and/or sustainability issues, including but not limited to housing, health, transportation, buildings, energy, economic development, community development, climate resiliency, and more. They are users of GEM who are committed to learning more about the ways that data and mapping can be used to forward climate equity goals. 


Schedule: Members will meet in monthly video calls, with regular communication amongst members in between sessions. Additional small group calls to supporting peer consultancy on certain topics or skills will also be available. Calls and activities will be mostly organized by the Community’s staff, but led and facilitated by group members, visiting facilitators, and other practitioners. We expect to connect regularly with other ongoing networks and communities of practice so as to respect the time and prior investments in communities members and others have made, and to leverage the great existing work in our cities and communities.


Infrastructure: To support both real time group learning and individual learning timelines, the group will use the Community of Practice landing page to house all communication channels - email group, Slack channel, and Google documents/drive. Communication between members outside of calls is highly encouraged and will help strengthen the community.


Community Principles: The Community of Practice is organized and facilitated based on several key principles:

  • Leader-full membership: Members lead in their areas of interest

  • Focus on practice: Equity work is a practice that is continually learned and inquired about, and accountable to impacted communities

  • Regularity and predictability: Rhythm of communications and activities is reliable and adaptive

  • Transparency: Facilitation of the group/communication will not be highly curated but rather emergent and responsive to the needs of the group, and the continual learning process will be shared with all

  • Learning in concentric circles: Learning emanates out of the core membership of the Community and new/peripheral members continue to come in to add and learn.

  • Expertise from all: Experts come from all backgrounds and levels of formality. Lived experience is             expertise.

Photo by Catalyst Miami